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New Brunswick universities and Regional Health Authorities partner to pilot patient-centred navigation program for those living with dementia

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Nov 10, 2022

Category: UNB Saint John

A team from the Centre for Research in Integrated Care (CRIC) at the University of New Brunswick, Université de Moncton, Horizon Health Network and Vitalité Health Network recently launched Navigating Dementia NB. This province-wide, community-based, bilingual pilot program focuses on helping those living with dementia, their care partners and their care teams as they navigate a complicated maze of health and social services.

“At the core of the program are a team of seven patient navigators who help patients access timely care by identifying individual needs and connecting them and their families to appropriate resources,” said Dr. Lillian MacNeill, project coordinator. “The navigators help connect patients and their care partners with health and social services, government agencies, private care options and not-for-profit organizations, which promotes more integrated care for individuals living with dementia and their families.”

The research team received project funding in March of this year through the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project, a funding agreement between the Government of New Brunswick and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Navigating Dementia NB’s goal is to work with health and social care providers to ensure patient-centred, integrated care for individuals living with dementia, their families and their care teams.

“A dementia diagnosis can be a life-altering experience and this program aims to facilitate greater accessibility to resources and care,” said Sherry Gionet, RN, patient navigator. “Our wish is that every person experiencing dementia and their care partners in New Brunswick have access to the services they require in a timely manner.”

Chandra MacBean, executive director of the Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick, says having a single point of entry to access tools and resources could go a long way in addressing the gaps currently faced by those affected by this disease in the province.

“Every day we hear from families who struggle to navigate the healthcare system and access timely, relevant resources,” said MacBean. “Having this program to refer those experiencing this challenge will help bridge a gap in the system and allow us to better support the families we serve.”

If this program produces its intended outcomes, researchers hope to implement it as the standard of care for those who live with dementia in the community and their care partners across the province.

“Using the pilot findings, we will explore sustaining this program in New Brunswick, as well as scaling this innovation across Canada to other provinces and territories,” said MacNeill.

About CRIC

The Centre for Research in Integrated Care (CRIC) is a living laboratory that develops and evaluates patient-centred integrated models of care for individuals with complex care needs and their families.